Tuesday, May 24, 2005



(Originally run 11/25/03 on the old site)

Ernest Simpson

Anita's comment about the High School Annuals from Marvin Sowell will lead me in time to the Searcy Library, for sure. And yes, Anita, I will read what you wrote to him in the yearbook! No secret's safe in the library! I'm a believer: You'll never find greater sentiment, poured out with truer passion, than that written in a high school annual, forty-five plus years ago. May it ever be thus.

Anita Hart Fuller

Did I get to Gabalee? Bob says he did, but I can't dredge up any memories. Bob says he probably saw his first live "theater" there: The U. did "Good News" in the open air Greek Theater....remember that?

Now that you mention it, I do remember Sally Rand at Dallas! I've written and received an email from Judy Deener, and she has a great comment on her being a majorette: She couldn't twirl worth a flip, and never cared to, but “ .. in Mr. Laas' band, about all the majorettes had to do was walk in front of the band with their batons under their arm." For some reason, they had to wear long pants, but Dorothy Caldwell -- when she was drum major -- wore shorts. After that, I'm thinking all the drum majors were guys (boys).

Also, great memory of the women at the Mayfair Hotel: I could only think of Phyllis Smith.

To Tom: you've found a treasure trove of memories in Mildred AND Jim Wilbourn, whose first knowledge of Searcy came when he married Mildred, but I'd put him up against anybody when it comes to remembering people and events after about l959! - maybe before.

Everybody "keep on keeping on," as my mother is "wont" to say. (NOTE from 5/24/05: Mrs. Hart took a bad fall last week, but is expected to go back home this Thursday. Corinne may be closing in on her mid-90's, but it sure hasn't slowed her down much. -tlp-)

Two comments/observations: Home Ec. I personally HATED that class and, fortunately, I didn't need the credit to graduate because I didn't get credit for it, as I never did finish my dress (we had to make a dress or make something, and I guess I chose a dress. I was supposed to go back up there in the summer to sew on the machines and finish it, but I never did).

"Cheating" in class: I think it was our 9th grade English Literature class taught by Mrs. Hicks. Anyway, we read "Silas Marner" and would have a true-false test each week over what we had read. We "conned" Calvin Skaggs, the smartest in the class, into placing his pencil eraser up for True, eraser down for False....

And now one more memory about being in Mrs. Hick's class: someone would begin to hum, then another, and another,etc. As humming can be done without any facial expression, we all looked as if it were business as usual, and it nearly drove her nuts to try and find out who the hummers were.

I remember a sweet red-haired lady who got stuck with Study Hall one year. As you’ll recall, on the first day of school, a pad would be circulated through study hall, and everyone would write down their name. Then the teacher would read the list out loud, and we’d answer “Here” or words to that effect. This particular class period, the lady read off a name to which no one responded. She repeated it again. A snicker from the crowd. She repeated the name about 3 more times before the rising chorus of snickers let her know she’d been had. Blushing, she went on to the next name. The name, shouted loudly? I. P. Wellwater.

I don’t really understand how some teachers put up with us. –tlp-

Anita contines:

Anyone remember Mrs. Hick's beautiful granddaughter who used to visit in the summer and, one year, attended school with us: all the boys hung around her doorstep all summer long, just like a scene in a movie. Her name: Margaret McClean. Dark hair, dark eyes, dark skin - she was indeed beautiful, and had impeccable manners. We didn't. P.S. I have a picture of her.


Margaret McClean Posted by Hello

NOTE TO DON THOMPSON: I take it on both faith and evidence that the Plaza Theatre existed, but it is totally missing from my memory. 'Long about Chapter 3 or 4 of my SEARCY '46-'56 epic, I tell about how Saturday was our day to go to the movies. It was ALWAYS the Rialto. Got any idea when the Plaza closed? And his reply:

See the 1936 Searcy Boy's Band pic for a view of the Plaza. Don't know when it closed, but it was a fun theater.

I was about 6 when we moved to Searcy from Rosebud. We rented a house that was across the street from the First Methodist Church and behind the service station. The Acme cleaners bordered the side yard. Anyway, I would walk to the Rialto by myself at night for the movies. It was just up one block to the Security Bank, then one block up Spring St. Life was good.

Today, kids are inundated with TV programs, video tapes and DVDs, as well as the movies. When we were growing up in 1940s Searcy, we had the Rialto and Plaza theaters. Saturday was a special time for picture shows, because we could go to the matinee at the Plaza and then see the latest western at theRialto at night. Some, like Paula, tended to do the reverse.

I have the fondest memories of the Plaza. On the way to the theater, I would stop at Sterling’s and get a bag of hot spanish peanuts to fortify me during the double feature action films. I can't say which I enjoyed most, the main features or the serials. One of the most memorable serials was "The Purple Monster from Mars". The idea of invaders from space was ever-present in the pulp SciFi magazines, but to see one on the silver screen was outstanding. I always carried my nickel-plated cap pistol to the theater in case the heroes needed my help. The rats had better beware. Fortunately, there were no metal detectors at the door to uncover that shiny beauty.

There seemed to be an endless supply of thrillers for our enjoyment. My favorites were the Frankenstein, Dracula, Werewolf, and Mummy series that kept me on the edge of my seat. Then there was the kind old gentleman Charlie Chan, who could outwit the smartest thugs -- and always did. Those movies were not just a moment's entertainment. They provided the inspiration for countless hours of adventure role-playing with the neighborhood kids. I remember my best ever halloween costume was a cape and mask my grandmother, Sadie Graham, made from the lining of a black velour coat. When I donned that ensemble, I was Zorro. I made my mark on plenty of walls and those memories have made their marks on me.


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